PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Music

The Mavericks: Brand New Day

Photo: David McClister

The music evokes the broad empty landscapes, sleepy cantinas, and heavy-eyed senoritas of the mythical past where the differences between bad hombres and honest men were not always clear.


The Mavericks

Brand New Day

Label: Mono Mundo
US Release Date: 2017-03-31
UK Release Date: 2017-03-31
Amazon
iTunes

The Mavericks have a big sound. On their latest release, the (somewhat) newly re-formed band offer the aural equivalent of one of those widescreen Cinemascope Technicolor westerns of the late '50s/early '60s. The music evokes the broad empty landscapes, sleepy cantinas, and heavy-eyed senoritas of the mythical past where the differences between bad hombres and honest men were not always clear. That drunk in the corner saloon could be a doctor, the sheriff, a bum or an outlaw, and which one is the better person is anyone’s guess.

Much of the credit belongs to Raul Malo’s horse-operatic vocals. Critics have long compared his intonations with that of the late Roy Orbison, but Malo sings with more of a flourish. He cites Elvis Presley’s “It’s Now or Never” as a significant influence. You can hear this in the way Malo lets the notes linger in songs such as the romantic “For the Ages”. He turns words such as “sweeter”, “shining”, and “twinkle” into shimmering expressions of love. As Malo co-produced the album, he gets credit for the decision to put his voice in the forefront. But he alone is not responsible for the other factors that give the disc such a full sound. The muscular horns and sweeping accordion licks of the backup band, the Fantastic Four, add to the record’s spaciousness. The layered instrumentation suggests the sparse density of the sonic strata. Even when the musicians play together, there is a sense of silence such as on the quiet, slow and lovely “Goodnight Waltz”.

The Mavericks know how to kick it up a notch, too. Songs such as the blues-meets-Chuck Berry mash-up “Ride Me Up”, the rollicking shanty “Easy As It Seems” and the liberating vibe of “Damned (If You Do)” showcase the talents of the Mavericks’ core members: drummer Paul Deakin, guitarist Eddie Perez, and keyboardist Jerry Dale McFadden. They consistently provide a solid foundation for the ten new songs on the album no matter if they are playing Tex–Mex, western swing, rhythm & blues, country, or rock ‘n’ roll.

The material may vary in style and substance, but the balance of the tunes lend themselves to the side of having fun. That’s certainly true of the opening track that sets the album’s tone, “Rolling Along” that promotes the benefits of marijuana when dealing with life’s pressures and offers sly references to Willie Nelson and flying like a bird on the wing. The title track, “Brand New Day”, takes a more strident approach. The current situation may be bleak, but tomorrow will come. There is a promise of light when things are darkest: love can make the future bright. These may be clichés, but the cadenced shibboleths offer hope. Still, the cut may be the album’s weakest and one has to wonder why it was designated as its title. The breezy “I Will Be Yours” offers a similar sentiment (“though time is borrowed / every tomorrow / will bring us closer / than yesterday”) without pretentiousness despite the spoken word interlude.

The record may be short, less than 40 minutes long, but the band’s fans will find plenty of tasty treats. Malo’s strong vocals and the ringing instrumentation suggest the material would work better live, but the well-crafted studio production makes Brand New Day a welcome addition to the Mavericks' catalog.

7

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Film

The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.

Music

British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.

Film

Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.

Music

​Patrick Cowley Remade Funk and Disco on 'Some Funkettes'

Patrick Cowley's Some Funkettes sports instrumental renditions from between 1975-1977 of songs previously made popular by Donna Summer, Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, and others.

Music

The Top 10 Definitive Breakup Albums

When you feel bombarded with overpriced consumerism disguised as love, here are ten albums that look at love's hangover.

Music

Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language Digs Deep Into the Jazz Quartet Format with 'A Time and a Place'

Restless tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi runs his four-piece combo through some thrilling jazz excursions on a fascinating new album, A Time and a Place.

Television

How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.

Music

Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.

Music

CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.

Music

Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.

Music

While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.

Music

Peter Frampton Asks "Do You Feel Like I Do?" in Rock-Solid Book on Storied Career

British rocker Peter Frampton grew up fast before reaching meteoric heights with Frampton Comes Alive! Now the 70-year-old Grammy-winning artist facing a degenerative muscle condition looks back on his life in his new memoir and this revealing interview.

Books

Bishakh Som's 'Spellbound' Is an Innovative Take on the Graphic Memoir

Bishakh's Som's graphic memoir, Spellbound, serves as a reminder that trans memoirs need not hinge on transition narratives, or at least not on the ones we are used to seeing.

Music

Gamblers' Michael McManus Discusses Religion, Addiction, and the Importance of Writing Open-Ended Songs

Seductively approachable, Gamblers' sunny sound masks the tragedy and despair that populate the band's debut album.

Books

Peter Guralnick's 'Looking to Get Lost' Is an Ode to the Pleasures of Writing About Music

Peter Guralnick's homage to writing about music, 'Looking to Get Lost', shows how good music writing gets the music into the readers' head.

Film

In Praise of the Artifice in George Cukor's 'Sylvia Scarlett'

George Cukor's gender-bending Sylvia Scarlett proposes a heroine who learns nothing from her cross-gendered ordeal.

Music

The Cure: Ranking the Albums From 13 to 1

Just about every Cure album is worth picking up, and even those ranked lowest boast worthwhile moments. Here are their albums, spanning 29 years, presented from worst to best.

Television

The 20 Best Episodes of 'Star Trek: The Original Series'

This is a timeless list of 20 thrilling Star Trek episodes that delight, excite, and entertain, all the while exploring the deepest aspects of the human condition and questioning our place in the universe.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.